Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life February 2012 – Vol. 11 No. 2
Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, “Where have I gone wrong?” Then a voice says to me, “This is going to take more than one night.”

~Charles M. Schulz
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The procrastinator’s guide to getting organized Has “get organized” been on your to-do list for what seems like forever?

If you tend to put off rather than plunge in or dawdle instead of do, generally there’s a habit or belief that is undermining your ability to achieve your goals. But once you understand the root cause of your procrastination, you can choose to change that habit or belief.

Get your brain in gear. When you think about the process of getting organized, how does it make you feel? Do you get excited? Or do you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, confused, or afraid? It’s a lot easier to get organized if you are excited. But how do you get excited about something you don’t feel excited about?

Fake it. Act as if you are excited. Focus on the outcome or rewards rather than the process.
Imagine walking into your uncluttered kitchen or office. Envision it. What do you see? How do you feel? What might your family members and friends say to you if they could see your newly organized space? Are you a little more excited now?

Make it easy on yourself. Organizing is a decision-making process. We need to make decisions about what to toss and what to keep as well and where to put what. Putting off those decisions just adds to the mess.

Many people who struggle with clutter and disorganization do so because they have developed a habit of postponing decisions. To simplify the decision-making process, develop a few umbrella rules such as:

* If I haven’t used it in over a year, I will let it go.
* If I love it or I think it is beautiful, I will keep it.
* Could I get another one fairly easily or inexpensively? If yes, it’s outta here.

Forget about perfect. Believe it or not, perfectionists are some of the biggest procrastinators. You could be one of them if you put things off because 1) you don’t feel you enough time to do the job right, 2) you don’t have the “perfect” tools for the job, 3) you haven’t yet figured how to do the job perfectly, or 4) all of the above.

When you set perfection as your goal, you rarely achieve it because perfection is elusive.
Instead, set your goal to simply get the job done. You can always perfect it later. But don’t be surprised if you discover that done is perfect.

Start with today’s stuff. Do you hope that someday you’ll get organized? Why not start by organizing today’s stuff?

For example, if you keep adding printed photographs to pile of photographs that need to be sorted through, you’re just creating a bigger project for someday. Instead, put your most recent photographs in albums and keep it up. That way, all the photographs you take from today forward – for the rest of your life – will be organized.


* If you sort through your mail every day, you will be less likely to miss payments on bills or important events.

* If you hang up your clothes when you take them off, you won’t have a whole pile of wrinkled clothes on the floor that will later need dry cleaning or ironing.

* If you put things down where they belong, and only where they belong, you will be able to find them when you need them.

Once you organize your everyday life, you can begin to set aside time to work on selected projects one at a time.

Make it fun. Consider inviting a friend to help organize your closet in return for your help at her home. Organizing is more fun when you have an organizing buddy and four hands make quicker work than two.

Reward yourself. Before you begin, establish a reward for getting the job done. For example, you might decide to reward yourself after 30 minutes of organizing by putting your feet up for 15 minutes and relaxing with a good book or your favorite magazine.

Okay, time to get to it!

Quick tip: Free shredding Have you heard? Through the end of February, you can take documents to your Staples store to be shredded at no cost. No coupon is required. Just drop off your paper at any Staples Store at the Copy Center.

Favorite organizing products and resources As a professional organizer for the last 10 years, I’ve used and recommended a lot of organizing products, services and resources.
Every month, in this column, I share my favorites.

This month, I’d like to steer you to some great deals on organizing products from Organized A to Z. They’ve got a clearance sale going on with savings with up to 50% off five pages of products – 150 products in all.

These are just a few of my favorites:

* Peek-a-boo closet rod dividers

* Socket pocket and the Drinn cell phone holder – two “neat” cell phone charging stations

* Tax filer (you know you need this!)

* Foldable purse hanger – love mine!

* Bed risers to create storage space under any bed

Check it out. Click on Clearance Items to see all 150 products.

For a look at more of my organizing favorites, visit www.unclutter.com/favorites

Are you a professional organizer wannabe? I frequently receive emails from my readers who want to know how to get started as a professional organizer. If you truly love organizing and you have a good head for business, there are many resources to help you get started in an organizing career. Here are two resources I recommend with confidence:

Self-Study Course This comprehensive “Business in a Bag” package was put together by veteran industry trainer, Marla Dee. She offers a 5-Day Live Training course also, but this self-study course is a fraction of the cost. If you’re a self-starter, this may be the way to go.

One-Day In-Person Training The Organizing Specialists offer a one-day in- person training and they have spring dates coming up on March 3, April 21 and June 2. These trainers are highly respected in the organizing industry and I hear nothing but positive reviews of their training course.

Shameless promotion: Oprah and I Ever since I wrote my first book, my friends have been saying: You should be on Oprah! Do you have any idea how hard it is to get on the Oprah show? I’m still waiting for that call.

Meanwhile, I did get some cleaning tips mentioned in not one, but three articles this month on Oprah.com. And here they are for your reading pleasure. . .

There’s a Wrong Way to Dust? And 5 Other Cleaning Mistakes Cleaning the Impossible

Spring Cleaning That Won’t Take Over Your Life: 8 Hours, Start to Finish

That’s all for this month. Until next month, keep it simple.